Grocery shopping is said to be one activity that makes couples closer together, but it was not the case between my husband and me.
Many couples, who after exploring different options to treat infertility, still fail to have their own child. Having the inability to conceive puts both of them under so much stress and emotional turmoil, and often this becomes the cause of the relationship becoming unstable.
My husband and I have been married for two years and have been wanting to have kids. Every time we have a gathering with friends, we feel pressured whenever topics about kids are brought up. Because of pressure and maybe shame, we just sometimes not show up during our group dates.
Our doctor keeps on encouraging us that we should never give up, and we still can have our own kids through in vitro fertilization, but we have to prepare for it financially, emotionally, mentally, and physically. As a matter of fact, we are talking about it, gaining insights about how it works, and in the process of finding out if our insurance is going to cover it.
How In Vitro Fertilization Works
In vitro fertilization is a modern procedure which aims to assist couples to bear a child of their own. It is a process where mature eggs are being collected from the ovary and fertilized by sperms in a laboratory. The embryo or the fertilized egg is then deposited back into the woman’s uterus. A cycle of IVF could take two weeks.
IVF generally has a higher success rate especially for women below 35 years of age, making it the most effective technology in assisting couples to have a child. It can be done using the husband and wife’s own egg and sperm or can be from a known or unidentified donor.
Successful And Failed IVF
Some successful people have tried in vitro fertilization, and some of them have even come forward to tell about their experiences within vitro fertilization.
Khloe Kardashian has been very open regarding her fight with infertility and her unstable married life. Her body does not have the ability to release an egg, and the lining of her uterus is not thick enough to hold a pregnancy. She attempted IVF with the hope that a child would save her relationship with NBA player Lamar Odom, but the treatment did not work out, so did her relationship.
Giuliana Rancic, E! News host, had three IVF cycles. The first attempt, she got pregnant but had a miscarriage, the second did not work out and she did not get pregnant. During the third time, she found out that she had breast cancer, so she and her husband decided to have a gestational surrogate to carry their son who was finally born in 2012.
Nicole Kidman had miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy that caused her depression. She never stopped and had tried all the possibilities to get pregnant. Nicole had her first child in 2008 and through a gestational carrier had her second one in 2011. She said that though the success rates were meager, she still tried and had the miracle of her life.
Sarah Jessica Parker also had twin daughters who were born through a gestational surrogate in 2009.
Brooke Shields even wrote a book which tells about her struggle to get pregnant and the postpartum depression she had. She had several failed IVFs and a successful one in 2002, where she gave birth to a baby girl in 2003.
Emotional and physical pain and shame brought by being unable to bear a child could put couples in so much stress. No matter how having no kids affect your relationship, it is essential to endure the hardships, share your feelings and be each other’s support. The psychological wellbeing of both couples is paramount to improving the relationship and keeping couples more relaxed especially during sex. Sex should not only be about conceiving, but couples should enjoy each experience. Support from friends and families is also essential to enhance the healthy relationship between infertile partners.
Those who had failed and even those who have had successful IVF treatments have only one thing to say about the process. It is an upsetting and brutal process as it puts them in an emotional roller coaster. But no matter what, once they take a look at their baby, the feeling is unbelievably beautiful, and they are very thankful that they did it anyway.
Just like what our doctor had advised us, stability in the relationship and healthy psychological status of the infertile couple, like us, can aid a lot in having a successful in vitro treatment. And since we are already considering it, we are preparing ourselves emotionally and mentally whatever the outcome may be.
In vitro fertilization is quite expensive and some 15 states in the US protect couples through its law regarding insurance covering part of the infertility treatment. Though complicated and straightforward, there are insurers who don’t cover infertility services, but some pay for all of it, and some just go in-between. Find out if your state belongs to those who support infertile couples to get some help with payment for fertility services through insurance plans.
Here is a list of quotes about pregnancy from therapists and counselors:
- “Getting a younger sibling is a really big deal for children.” – Hilary Mandzik, PsyD
- “Preconception counseling is especially important for women who are on medications for bipolar disorder or depression.” – Malina Spirito, PsyD
- “Pregnant women who exercise – under the care of their doctors – are better able to manage stress.” – Christina G. Hibbert, PsyD
Are you considering getting health insurance? It is crucial that you know what benefits it covers and what type of insurance you are getting.
If you are a couple who is undergoing marriage counseling or therapy, it is essential that you understand if the insurance plan you are paying for covers your sessions.
With the looming threat of economic crisis and the skyrocketing prices of goods and services, being stingy and critical of expenditure of money is the pragmatic way to go. The budget of a typical household is usually allotted for the essentials such as food, gas, electricity and health insurance. However, it may seem that your finances are staying afloat and working for you but wait until somebody gets sick. The budget and the money you saved will quickly go down the drain. This only proves the proverbial phrase, “Health is wealth.”
“It seems obvious that experiencing a depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, would be required for someone to be diagnosed.” – Simon Rego, PsyD
February is traditionally celebrated as the love or heart month; thus, the American Heart Association aptly considered this opportunity to raise awareness of the cardiovascular disease among women. Every year, the National Wear Red Day is celebrated all over the country as part of the strategy to make cardiovascular health as a priority. The numbers describing the seriousness of this condition is already enough to make you reconsider taking the steps towards optimum heart function.
Women are becoming more prone to depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, somatic complaints, and other mental health disorders than men, and that signalizes a severe public mental health problem. Both healthcare and insurance system has overlooked the situation, and women are left trapped and are not aware that they are already exhibiting self-destructive behaviors.
As women grow old, the threat of developing health problems increases, especially during menopause. Heart problems are common during this stage due to a decreased level of estrogen that can significantly affect the function of the heart, which can lead to heart failure, the most common cause of death among women. Depleted estrogens level may also lead to low bone mineral density, osteopenia, and osteoporosis that may eventually increase the risk of fracture and injuries. The skin as well may undergo some changes such as dryness and floppy and wrinkled skin turgor due to decreased estrogens. These are just some of the physical changes that women have to face as they grow old. However, with a balanced diet and proper nutrition, women can be physically prepared as they age. Taking vitamins through supplements or organic foods may also help women get rid of the health problems that they may encounter.
The old age debate on who is the strongest sex continues today. For men, their physique and stamina are their unwavering argument; while women resort to their ability to conceive and bring forth a human being into this world and other attributes serves as their firm stance. This can be valid, however, in the general population, women, and children are still considered as vulnerable groups, and they are the ones that are more prone to develop illnesses and with higher rates of mortality.
A word of caution before proceeding. This article is not to start another endless debate, rather point out the specific needs of women especially when it comes to nutritional aspects.
According to Jennifer Kromberg, PSYD, “Most people think emotional eating is due to a lack of self-control.”
Nutrition is the keystone of good health. With the physical and mental demands of being a woman, proper health teaching and encouraging women to take the lead concerning their nutritional health is very important. Any deficiency in protein, vitamins, minerals and caloric intake can result in a reduced health condition, both in the physical and psychological dimensions.
Malnutrition among women especially those in adolescent stage and who are at their childbearing age have been a social concern worldwide for several decades now. And this has weakened the ability of a woman for childbirth, increase susceptibility to infection processes, and development of chronic medical conditions. In the social part, the capacity to provide income and capability to look after their families can be compromised once sickness comes in.
“There is a definite connection between stress and our appetite. But the connection isn’t the same for everyone,” sayd Susan Albers, PsyD.
Addressing malnutrition will be of great help for empowering women and helping them to maximize their potentials. This will create a positive effect on the society as this will enable women to accomplish several roles in the community as a result of this helping to achieve socioeconomic development as well. Promoting and improving nutrition among women could also lead to the achievement of development goals which are markers of development progress in any country.
Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger
Women who are receiving the right amount of nutrition are well capable of having enough money for themselves, their children, and their families. For mothers, they are expected to have newborns with healthy birth weights and be spared from malnutrition.
Reducing child mortality
With the provision of proper and adequate nutrition to every woman, this will help the woman to become holistically prepared to bear a child, thus the incidence of low birth-weight babies, who are prone to die in infancy may be avoided. This will also result in having healthy newborns who can overcome any childhood illnesses.
Improved maternal health
Proper nutrition means having iron and other micronutrients adequately stored in the body, and this can result in less susceptible fatal infections and increase chances of surviving from bleeding during and after childbirth. Also, the succeeding post-partum stage is also a critical phase where the women breastfeed the infant, and she will need an adequate supply of healthy food substances.
A healthy population defines a healthy and prosperous country. The emphasis of giving importance to the group of women rather than men is because women are the primary caregiver and nurturer in any cultural setting. The ability of the woman to take care of the child and other members of the family are beyond what men can do if they can be the primary caregiver. No offense made on men, but wherever you go, women are still expected to provide holistic caring attitude by tending the children and managing a household. Thus, it is only proper that this particular attention presented to them.
TRIVIA: “Some people assume that if they are prescribed antidepressants they will need to take them for the rest of their lives.” – Jessica Koblenz, PsyD
Homeostasis is needed to ensure that the body and mind function correctly. This means that there should be a balanced and harmonious environment guaranteeing that all bodily systems are working in proper coordination. One body system that shows some relationship with the mental health condition is the endocrine system. The endocrine system is comprised of several glands and organs that are responsible for the production, regulation, and control of certain hormones and brain chemicals. If there are some alterations in this functioning, it can result in medical conditions and at times mimic some mental illnesses.
The most common endocrine condition that is associated with psychological problems is related to disorders of the thyroid gland. Located in the anterior portion of the neck, this gland is responsible for metabolism, digestive and heart functions, control of muscles, development of the brain and bone maintenance
Hyper or Hypo
The hormones that the thyroid gland secretes and regulate are responsible for the correct balance in maintaining heart rate, metabolic rate, digestion, and nervous system functioning. If there will be an increase or decrease the supply of these hormones, then medical and psychological problems can happen.
An increase in thyroid hormones characterizes hyperthyroidism. A person with hyperthyroidism will have the following clinical manifestations:
- Heightened sensation and awareness
- Manic and depressive states
- Intolerance to heat
- Increased vital signs like heart rate, respiration, and body temperature
Hypothyroidism is the inadequate or decreased production of thyroid hormones. Often, this condition is diagnosed late because the symptoms develop slowly and the person may not detect that they are already having some clinical problems. In this condition, everything is in the slow-motion process. The individual may present the following behaviors:
- Slow comprehension
- Decreased mental functioning
- Memory retention problems
- Melancholia and having paranoid thoughts
What To Do
The only way to detect if you have thyroid problems is thru blood works to compare the levels of the thyroid hormones. With regards to the mental health issues, the general practitioner will refer the person to a psychiatrist to further evaluate the behavior and mood and impact of the physiological changes to the daily activities.
In the medical aspect, the person will be given synthetic hormones to augment thyroid hormones in the case of hypothyroidism. If the case is hyperthyroidism, surgical removal of the thyroid gland is the best option then will be followed by medications to represent the adequate supply of thyroid hormones in the absence of the thyroid gland. Medications are to be taken in a lifetime.
If the person presents behavioral problems, a psychiatrist can help to give medications to alleviate panic and anxiety symptoms. Also, since the medical problem can bring some physical changes such as weight loss or obesity, eye problems (protrusion of eyeballs in hyperthyroidism), and hair loss, self-esteem issues can be a significant concern. The person is expected to express their feelings to the mental health professional that is assisting them so that proper counseling is in place.
The overall outlook for thyroid ailments is good. Psychological problems may take some time to manage, however, the prognosis is promising. Contact your doctor immediately if you feel that you have these types of medical illness so that early intervention and prompt recovery is assured.
Most couples decide to be together in order to build a family. Early on in their relationship, they have imagined how many kids they would want to have. But this dream doesn’t always come to be realized, leaving couples frustrated. They start to lose hope, and some relationships can even turn sour when no pregnancy occurs even after years of trying. Infertility becomes a suspect and sometimes the culprit of a breakup.
Infertility is the inability of the reproductive system to conceive or carry a pregnancy after a year of trying. The problem can either be from the woman or man or both of them. Ten to fifteen percent of couples in the United States are affected by this condition.
According to Jan Elman Stout, PsyD, “What a parent wants is to nurture and form attachments and share values and activities with a child.”
In some cases, infertility can be treatable so couples are advised to seek medical assistance if no pregnancy occurs after a year of their unprotected sex. Both partners have to submit to an examination to know the state of their health overall and to see if they both have problems that hinder the woman to get pregnant.
Testing As Early As Possible
One way to find out the reason for infertility is to x-ray the woman’s fallopian tubes and uterus (womb). The fallopian tube is the path where the eggs travel from the ovaries to the uterus.
Semen analysis or the sperm count test is also another test being done. It is to evaluate the health and capability of the male sperm. Semen is the liquid containing sugar, protein substances, and sperm that comes out during ejaculation.
Once the doctor finds out the underlying cause of infertility, drug therapy or surgery is recommended to correct the problem.
Kate Stone, PsyD asks “Have you felt frustrated or irritated when someone says, “Just relax, and you’ll get pregnant!” –Don’t we all wish it were this easy? Anyone who has experienced infertility knows can be stressful, but is the opposite true—can stress cause infertility?”
Infertility In Men
Azoospermia is the most common infertility condition in a man where he produces no sperm.
When a man produces not enough amount of sperm, the condition is called oligospermia.
There are also cases where sperm cells are too weak that they die before they reach the egg. Some sperm cells may also be deformed.
Infertility In Women
Infertility in a woman is caused by many factors which can damage or block the fallopian tube such as
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Previous infection
- Defect at birth
- Previous ectopic pregnancy
Other causes of infertility in a woman can also be
- lack or irregular ovulation
- polycystic ovarian syndrome
- inferior quality of egg cell
- poor immune system
- chronic illness that is left untreated such as diabetes, kidney disease as well as a thyroid disorder
- substance abuse
- exposure to toxins in the environment
- advanced age; women over the age of 35 have lower chances of conceiving
- sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea that is not treated
- obesity or cases of being underweight
Once these conditions above are corrected, there is a big possibility of conception in the future. But if treatment of such disease still fails, the doctor can explain to you other options that couples can explore. There are drugs that can stimulate the production of much healthier eggs and the use of in vitro fertilization. These options may be costly but have higher chances of success.
Infertility is said to be most common in women than men, but the reality is that only one-third of infertility can be attributed to women, another one-third of infertility cases are problems related to men, and the last one-third can be due to both couples and other causes that are still yet unknown.
To build a family is one of the reasons why a man and a woman get married, but failing to get pregnant can be frustrating to both of them that infertility slowly becomes a couple’s nightmare. Partners should consider getting an examination if the woman is unable to conceive after a year of trying to get pregnant in order to address the problem early on.
Insurers know that to have children and become parents is the essence of being a couple, that is why there are insurance companies who currently cover portions of infertility treatment. Check your policy or talk to your insurer to find out.
In this time of difficulty, remember what Lindsay Sortor, PsyD said, “Finding support from others along a similar path also is helpful.”